Overcome Fear of Failure

shutterstock_230689372Linda was a client who was downhearted and wasn’t enjoying life. Aged 38 Linda told me she had let many opportunities pass her by. Her voice cracked on a few occasions as she explained how anxious she got when she had to do something new, or take on more responsibility. The result was there were many times in her life where Linda held back from an opportunity and stayed in her comfort zone. 

Times like when she refused to date a good looking guy in case it didn’t last – she said she would have been so horribly embarrassed if he had dumped her. And, although she was a good cook she avoided having friends around for dinner in case the meal was a disaster. Linda had even stepped back from a promotion at work because it meant she would have to take on a managing other people. The list of self-sabotaging grew as she recalled more times in her life when she had held back from taking any risk.

It was in that moment Linda realized she always sank back into the shadows when she thought a project or relationship wouldn’t be successful. That pattern was abundantly clear to see as Linda recalled more examples of times she really wanted to move on in life but put a stop on any personal growth because of the nagging doubt and worry about failing.

Fear had imprisoned Linda in the shadows. Confined to staying in her comfort zone she wouldn’t venture into new territory at work or socially. But something had bought her to me that day; she said it was a faint hope there was something more to life. She knew her world had become very small, the same people, same job day in day out, and was desperate for new experiences.

What makes people stay in the shadows and fear failing?

  1. Early conditioning is the top offender. A person isn’t born with a fear of failure but learns to be fearful and the culprits can be:
    1. over critical parents or teachers.
    2. over cautious care givers who don’t let a child take some risks, like riding a 2 wheel bike in case they fall.
    3. adopting other people’s beliefs and seeing failure is a bad thing.
  2. Culture of perfectionism. Some people will view not getting to their goal as really bad. So they stick rigidly to what they know they can do well and avoid like the plague anything outside of that zone. They check and triple check everything and cover their butt at every step.
  3. Blame and shame when life doesn’t go as planned. Instead of seeing life’s twists turns and as a natural river of events that can’t always be controlled. People who fear failure try to control every last little event and are defeated when life throws a curveball. Instead of seeing the opportunity in the unfolding scenario they blame themselves and often feel a sense of shame. A feeling to be avoided at all costs in the future
  4. Clinging to past success. Keeping up the appearance of success stifles any growth or new learnshutterstock_99146036ing, as a person becomes risk adverse. There are many companies that foster this culture today. When an individual has been successful they can feel that this image has to be protected, so will not take risk to ensure that status quo remains.
  5. Trauma. After a traumatic event a person can learn to avoid anything to do with the initial incident. It doesn’t take more than a bullying colleague or being let down by friends a few times before a pattern develops of preventing exposure to that situation again.


How To Overcome Fear Of Failure.

  1. Change the way you see ‘failure.’ Your perception will colour the way you react in any given situation. Some people will see something not working out as hoped for as feedback and valuable information. So when they try again they can go forward equipped with more knowledge. Failure can be a great teacher and there is always a bigger picture to hand even if you don’t see the value in it right away.
  2. Work out the risks. Ask yourself what is the worst that could happen? It is important sometimes to think through the best steps to take. So analyze the situation but don’t get stuck in the analysis. Take action from your conclusions.
  3. Listen to your gut instinct. Because sometimes it’s the right not to go for what seems like a great opportunity. Nothing to do with fear, just not for you at this time.
  4. Be easy on yourself. And that means don’t beat yourself up or take a so-called ‘failure’ personally. Recognize that in years to come you will not view today in the same way as you will then. People who blame themselves are more likely to get depression that someone who can recognize their part in something not working out but be able to see it as part of a bigger picture.
  5. Be realistic. When something has gone ‘wrong’ ask yourself how much could you have done differently and how much was in your control? I remember a woman who was so upset with herself because it had rained on the day she had a Summer garden party!
  6. Don’t dwell on the ‘failure.’ When something doesn’t work to plan, past conditioning can bring a sense of shame anxiety or embarrassment that fixes your attention on the problem. It is a natural process in your brain but….
  7. Have clear goals. Check out what you are aiming for is really what you want because the universe has a way of constantly turning your face to your true purpose in this life. So if you are set on a particular path and it is full of hardship and nothing seems to work out well. Spend some quiet time reflecting if that path feels good for you and is there something else that calls you? Something that would make you happier?


Remember to use tapping to help shift perception or any past events at effect how you are now approach an opportunity. 

Check out the video here if you need a refresher.

And here is the map of the points again.

Tapping script for busting through Fear of Failure

Try these words when you tap – and remember 2 key things

  1. Add in or change what words are right for you
  2. When you say the following really tune into to the words and how they make you feel
  • Even though I hold myself back from what I really know I can do. And have missed out on many opportunities – I lovingly accept myself anyway
  • I keep myself small
  • I have avoided opportunities because I fear not getting things right
  • I worry that I may not appear perfect or good enough
  • And I worry what others might think
  • I just feel so nervous about doing anything new
  • I imagine everything going wrong
  • Being embarrassed if I don’t know something
  • Not know what to do
  • And so I keep small
  • Stay in the shadows
  • Keep life the same
  • Feel frightened to make a go of ………
  • Day to day everything repeats because I can’t seem to put myself out into the world
  • I know I have something to offer but just can’t make the changes
  • It all seems so difficult
  • I get so anxious
  • What if I were to say or do the wrong thing?
  • What if I made a mistake?
  • That would make me feel so bad
  • I feel so ridiculous when I think of the opportunities I have let pass me by

Repeat several times

Positive rounds

  • I am so going to claim my freedom
  • To step forward and be counted
  • I so want to be the best I can be
  • I deserve this personal growth and expansion
  • To enjoy new experiences
  • Meet new people
  • I can love a challenge as it will stretch my talents and I will learn more about myself and others
  • I can call in great opportunities for ………………
  • I am so gong to enjoy walking in new pastures
  • Walking where I used to fear to tread
  • I am going to love this exploring
  • The richness of new places and people
  • The diversity of new places and people
  • I trust my conscious mind to know what to do
  • And I trust my inner being to know what to do
  • They will work together – instinct and learnt skills
  • I am enough
  • I am enough
  • I am more than enough
  • I came to this life with a purpose and I am going to follow the path of happiness and opportunity and enjoy the journey


Enjoy! And let me know how you get on.


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